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OkayAfrica's 2018 Holiday Gift Guide

Our curated list of 10 black-owned and black-created things that'll make the coolest gifts this holiday season.

And just like that, it's December. Whether you're giving gifts as part of a holiday tradition or just need to find something for your loved ones, we're using this as an excuse to highlight some of the products we've loved this year. We've curated another shortlist of black-owned and black-created things to shop for your loved ones (or for yourself!) this gifting season.

Check out our 10 picks below.


Shuri by Nnedi Okorafor

Naijamerican author Nnedi Okorafor has had one hell of a year. She's the pen behind Marvel's new comic spinoff, Shuri, which would be the perfect gift for your Black Panther and black girl magic enthusiast. Shuri explores the science and tech genius' journey where she's forced to choose the comforts of her gadget-filled lab or the people of Wakanda—as Black Panther gets lost in a space mission leaving Wakandans without a king.

Read more about the series here, and grab issue #1 here and issue #2 here.

BrownMill Company

2018 is the year of streetwear with a purpose and the BrownMill Company is one to take note of this holiday season. Founded in 2009 by Justis Pitt-Goodson, BrownMill is a fusion of bespoke tailoring and streetwear with a mission to reduce waste. The brand utilizes fabrics and materials when manufacturing their 'One-of-One' pieces, which in turn gives the consumer a unique product in their closet.

Here's their website.

Coloring Pins

Coloring Pins is your destination to nab pins, patches, keychains and stickers designed for the culture. Owner Essence Hayes found her niche in the accessories market that authentically represents the misrepresented and the underrepresented. "There are tons of cute pins, but none of them resonated with me or made me feel like I had to have them," Hayes says on her site. "I wanted a pin that was an extension of me, and I wanted to be able to walk with a pin that spoke before I did."

Shop on their website.

Scotch Porter

Calvin Quallis founded skincare and haircare brand Scotch Porter for the men who are about that self-care life but want to do so on a budget. And that's too real—wanting to take care of oneself shouldn't always have to come at a high price. His brand offers all-natural grooming products that tackle dry skin, hair health, beard maintenance and more that are worth a try.

Check out their website.

Justina Blakeney Home

For the loved one who loves bohemian and bright-colored home decor, Justina Blakeney Home is worth checking out. Justina Blakeney is a designer, artist and author of The New Bohemians—a New York Times bestseller. Her home decor brand features a variety of lifestyle products including furniture, case goods, gorgeous rugs, pillows, cheeky wallpaper and stationary.

Shop via Justina's website.

JEHU-CAL

Jehu-cal Emmanuel Enemokwu, also known as EMAY4K, is the founder and owner of his eponymous brand, JEHU-CAL. The Nigerian-British designer found his knack for fashion after customizing his low-cost clothes in secondary school. Enemokwu decided to name his fashion brand after his first name as a way to reclaim what was robbed of him due to bullying growing up—and the clean, bright designs show for it. JEHU-CAL is also an advocate for sustainable fashion by sourcing environmentally friendly materials, recyclable yarn and organic cotton.

Check out more JEHU-CAL threads via their website.

Temple Zen Skincare

Temple Zen Skincare was born out of the need for professional dancer and choreographer Jashiro Dean to preserve and maintain his body after a hard day's work. From using salt baths, shea and cocoa butters to utilizing essential oils, Dean wanted to impart the benefits he reaped from developing his products to his friends, family and the world. Another eco-friendly brand, Temple Zen Skincare's small-batch products are concentrated with vitamins and nutrients for healthier skin.

Shop on their website.

These Bones Will Rise Again by Panashe Chigumadzi

Zimbabwean-born, South Africa-raised author Panashe Chigumadzi shook the table that is the literary world with her novel, These Bones Will Rise Again this year. OkayAfrica contributor Rufaro Samanga notes the book, inspired by Alice Walker's essay In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens, tells the story of Mbuya Nehanda—a medium who was a fighter in Zimbabwe's Chimurenga liberation movement. It's Chigumadzi's reflection on her home country's history paired with her own family history.

Revisit our interview with Chigumadzi here and grab a copy on Amazon.

LUV SCRUB

For those folks in your life who are still unaware of the world wonder that is the net sponge, this bath tool will be sure to change their life and reveal smooth skin they didn't know they had. The LUV SCRUB is a stretchy sponge that elongates enough to get every nook and cranny of the body for a good daily scrub down—even giving you the ability to properly reach your back. Founded by Ghanaian Caroline Owusu-Ansah, she has brought the tool that's a staple in West African households and smartly presented it to the beauty world. A clutch stocking-stuffer.

Shop on their website.

OkayAfrica Shop

We are closing out this list shamelessly plugging our very own shop. We gave you the goods with dope designs this year that celebrated African pride, the legend himself Fela Kuti and even Africa's participation in the World Cup.

Check out our shop's website and keep an eye out for discounts that'll make holiday shopping easier.

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Casanova, Davido & Tory Lanez' '2AM' Will Soundtrack Your Weekend

Flatbush meets Lagos and Toronto in this addictive new single.

Brooklyn rapper Casanova rolls through with an energetic new collaboration with Davido and Tory Lanez.

"2AM" sees the rapper going in over highly-infectious afrobeats-meets-pop beat work, in the same vein as we've heard from massive hits like "Unforgettable." The song was produced by 30 Roc.

The single features the star power of Davido and Tory Lanez which gives "2AM" the increased potential to be one of those huge new jams that'll be getting constant spins this year on both sides of the Atlantic (it's already got the top slot in Spotify's African Heat playlist).

The music video kicks off in Atlanta but eventually follows Casanova to Lagos, where he connects with Davido in Shitta. The clip was directed by Nigeria's Meji Alabi, the creative force behind many of your favorite afrobeats videos.

"2AM" is the lead single from Casanova's upcoming EP, Free At Last, which is due from Roc Nation/Def Jam Recordings on February 15.

We talked to Casanova below to learn a little more about this new collaboration and sound for him.

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Dive Into TOBi's New Music Video For 'City Blues'

The Nigerian-Canadian rapper delivers a solid jam.

TOBi is a Nigerian-born, Toronto-based rapper making music inspired by his early life move to Canada and the experiences around immigration and culture shock.

You might have previously heard his track, "Hidden Fences," closing out the finale of Insecure or gotten into his 2016 debut EP, FYi.

TOBi is now sharing the new single and music for "City Blues," which sees the rapper taking cues from Marvin Gaye's "Inner City Blues" over a beat produced by Free n Losh. It's the first taste we're hearing from his upcoming debut album due later this year.

"[City Blues is] written from one perspective within the African diaspora, pertaining to being caught between two worlds and reclaiming my ethnic identity," TOBi tells OkayAfrica. "Embracing my name has been a crucial part of my personal growth."

"I drew inspiration from the Shakespeare quote: 'All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts.' City Blues speaks about the many roles that a human takes on at once but from my perspective," he adds.

Get into it below.

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Issa Rae to Star In Murder Mystery Rom-Com, 'The Lovebirds,' With Kumail Nanjiani

Issa Rae isn't playing with us in 2019!

Issa Rae has added yet another exciting project to her growing list for 2019, and we're totally here for it.

The actress and Insecure showrunner is set to star alongside comedian and Silicon Valley star Kumail Nanjiani in the upcoming romantic comedy The Lovebirds, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

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